Indian subcontinent populace, popularly known as the ‘desi’ populace is known to be extremely reluctant when it comes to discussing sex openly, yet overtly exulhtant behind the doors *coughs*high population rates*coughs*. So how do you talk sex with your kids in a place where the mere utterance of the word is considered profane? At the same time, sex education is extremely important. Yes, cultural upbringing does make it awkward to initiate the conversations. More so when you have to talk to your daughter about it. How to talk about terms such as masturbation, contraception and more, when just the other day you were talking fairy tales? But, we have to start some time, some place. So why not today?
The first thing is to be comfortable in the subject yourself and have a friendly relationship with your daughter. The next steps become fairly bearable if not entirely comfortable.
Niyati Shah, sexuality educator and founder of Averti, a sexual awareness project shares her advice on how to initiate conversation with your daughter on topics related to sex.
- Mothers should grab opportunities from everyday conversations to educate and empower their daughters.
- Stories from the newspapers can be one of the best ways to begin talking or talk about a specific point that you would want to emphasise on.
- Real life incidents can be very comforting to talk about, especially with a teen because it’s not she who is being discussed. Thus, she will openly talk about her thoughts and beliefs. Understanding your daughter and her perspective is important here. You can help with any corrections if needed while referring to the incident.
- Movies can truly be an excuse to talk about love, relationships, and sex. While watching or just after watching a movie, you can strike a conversation about a particular scene or a relationship depicted in the movies, and have your daughter express her own thoughts on the same. This way she won’t feel lectured or preached and will be a part of the discussion willingly.
- Use diagrams to explain the male and female reproductive systems. You can even start educating them about it at a very young age when bathing them.
What is the right age to talk about sex with your daughter?
With porn being so easily accessible, a lot of children know about sex much earlier, that too in an unrealistic and distorted way. Thus, the best way is to initiate the conversation yourself. A good age would be 10-12 years, just before they hit puberty.
How much should they know at a particular age?
It completely depends on the need of the situation. If there’s no dire need to explain sex, you can start by talking about puberty by age 9 and why it is going to happen to her. You can then talk about the feelings of arousal, the sudden changes in the body, the male anatomy by age 11 and slowly by the age 13 you can move to the talk about sex.
Remember, sex is not a taboo and you as a mother must be convinced about it before you initiate this conversation. Be a friend and don’t judge your daughter for having opinions about sexual attraction. A healthy discussion not just about the sexual act but the consequences of it and a progressive approach can help you educate your daughter better.